While most consumers believe supermarket foods are safe to eat, a new study from NPD Group finds that percentage is slipping, and has been declining over the last five years. In 2008 and 2007, 63% of
Americans agreed that supermarket foods were safe, versus 68% in 2004. While it might seem that eroding confidence is linked to widespread outbreaks of such foodborne nasties as salmonella and e.
Coli, NPD believes it may have more to do with the increase in prepared foods sold by stores, which has led consumers to think of stores' safety in the same way as restaurants.
"Consumers' slipping confidence in the safety of supermarket food is less about food safety and more about supermarkets expanding foodservice operations and offering more prepared, ready-to-eat
foods," the Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research company says in its release. "More food handling issues and concerns come into play when foods are prepared for you. Consumers are now extending
the concerns they have about the safety of foods served at restaurants to supermarkets."